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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Dutch Minister Who Launched 'She Decides' Speaks About Establishing Fund, Potential Impacts Of Mexico City Policy Reinstatement In NYT Interview

New York Times: In Response to Trump, a Dutch Minister Launches ‘She Decides’
“President Trump last month signed an executive order barring American aid to international organizations that discuss abortion as a family-planning option with clients. American law already forbids the use of taxpayer money to fund the procedure itself. In Europe, the president’s order brought an unexpected response. Lilianne Ploumen, 54, minister of foreign trade and development cooperation in the Netherlands, established a nongovernmental organization, She Decides, to raise money for aid groups whose funding is threatened under the new order. … I spoke with Ms. Ploumen by Skype last week…” (Dreifus, 2/20).

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1.4M Children Face Potential Famine In 4 Conflict-Hit Nations, UNICEF Warns

Agence France-Presse: 1.4 million children face famine in four countries: UNICEF
“Almost 1.4 million children suffering from severe malnutrition could die this year from famine in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen, the U.N. children’s agency said Monday…” (2/20).

Deutsche Welle: UNICEF warns that 1.4 million children could die from famine in four countries
“…UNICEF, the United Nations children’s agency, said on Monday that in Yemen 462,000 children were suffering from acute malnutrition. Some 450,000 children were severely malnourished in northeast Nigeria. FEWS NET, the famine early warning system, said some remote areas of Nigeria’s Borno state had been affected by famine since late last year…” (2/21).

Devex: Children face ‘immediate risk of death’ as famine looms in Yemen
“Nearly half a million children in Yemen are dangerously malnourished and at risk of death, the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF reported on Tuesday. The figure marks a 200 percent increase from 2014, before conflict erupted in the country. A host of factors are contributing to the dramatic food insecurity in the country, but aid organizations and analysts tell Devex that the bottom line comes down to logistics…” (Dickinson, 2/21).

The Guardian: Famine threatens lives of nearly half a million Nigerian children, says UNICEF
“…On Friday, a major international conference, hosted by Nigeria, Norway, and Germany, will be held in Oslo aimed at increasing funding for the crisis in north-east Nigeria and the wider Lake Chad region…” (Akinwotu, 2/22).

Reuters: U.N. says 1.4 million children at imminent risk of death in famines
“… ‘Time is running out for more than a million children,’ UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in statement. ‘We can still save many lives. The severe malnutrition and looming famine are largely man-made. Our common humanity demands faster action. We must not repeat the tragedy of the 2011 famine in the Horn of Africa’…” (Miles, 2/21).

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U.K. Pledges $249M For Famine Response In Somalia, South Sudan; E.U., Norway Also Commit Emergency Assistance

Devex: U.K. pledges $249M to South Sudan and Somalia in response to famine
“The U.K. has pledged 200 million British pounds ($249 million) in humanitarian aid to Somalia and South Sudan, after the United Nations declared a famine in South Sudan and issued famine warnings for Somalia, Yemen, and Nigeria on Monday. The announcement means that the U.K., European Union, and Norway have together committed more than $342 million in emergency assistance for the crisis…” (Anders, 2/22).

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In New Report, European Food, Disease Agencies Warn Drug-Resistant Bacteria Pose 'Alarming' Public Health Threat

Reuters: ‘Alarming’ superbugs a risk to people, animals, and food, E.U. warns
“Superbug bacteria found in people, animals, and food across the European Union pose an ‘alarming’ threat to public and animal health having evolved to resist widely used antibiotics, disease and safety experts warned on Wednesday. A report on antimicrobial resistance in bacteria by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said some 25,000 people die from such superbugs in the European Union every year…” (Kelland, 2/22).

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IHME Director Chris Murray Discusses Global Burden Of Disease Approach In Devex Interview

Devex: Why invest in health evidence? Q&A with Chris Murray of IHME
“…When the Gates Foundation launched in 2000, [Chris Murray, professor of global health at the University of Washington and director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME),] was at the World Health Organization, where he was a founder of the Global Burden of Disease approach. That caught the attention of the Seattle-based philanthropists, who decided early on that they wanted to use GBD metrics to help set their own priorities, as they built what is now the largest charitable foundation in the world. In 2007, Murray returned to Seattle, this time to pitch the idea for IHME, which would provide an evidence-based picture of global health to inform the kind of data-driven work the foundation is now known for…” (Cheney, 2/20).

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Editorials and Opinions

Trump Administration Should Not Allow Foreign Countries To 'Freeload' Off U.S. Medical Innovation

Wall Street Journal: How Other Countries Freeload on U.S. Drug Research
Peter Pitts, president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest

“President Trump says American companies have been getting ‘systematically ripped off’ by foreign governments and firms. He’s right. Yet he has backed a proposal that would make the problem even worse — permitting Americans to buy prescription drugs from overseas retailers, a practice known as importation. … [I]mportation would threaten the research-and-development efforts that yield new lifesaving drugs. … [R]ather than promote innovation, many other countries impose price controls on prescription drugs — including new medicines invented in the United States — to make them artificially cheaper for consumers. If American companies refuse to sell their medicines at these steeply discounted dictated prices, foreign countries threaten to break their patents and produce knockoff versions of the medicines. … The bottom line is that foreign countries freeload off American medical innovation, enjoying the fruits of U.S. ingenuity while forcing American consumers to shoulder a disproportionate share of the burden of funding research. Rather than further undermine American companies by importing price-controlled drugs, the Trump administration would be wise to stand up on behalf of U.S. researchers. … If America is to remain the world leader in medical innovation, it can no longer afford to let foreign countries freeload” (2/21).

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Comprehensive Approach, Greater Collaboration Needed To Achieve Global Access To Medicines

STAT: The global challenge of access to medicines
Gregg Alton, executive vice president of commercial and access operations ALA for corporate and medical affairs at Gilead Sciences

“Recent reports on the issue of access to medicines in developing countries are a clear reminder that biopharmaceutical companies — including Gilead Sciences — have an obligation to think about how all patients across the world can benefit from new medical advances as early as possible, regardless of economic circumstance. … A comprehensive access approach must embrace a diverse range of strategies: pilot projects to validate innovative delivery models; dedicated and transparent drug registration policies; training for nurses, doctors, and community health workers; supply chain management; and partnerships to reach vulnerable populations most in need or at risk, are all needed. For example, Gilead supports the U.S. government’s DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe women) initiative to give adolescent girls and young women in Africa access to medication to reduce their risk of HIV infection. … Innovator pharmaceutical companies, ministries of health and finance, health care professionals, non-profits, generic manufacturers, researchers, and community organizations all have important roles to play. With greater collaboration and a focus on the real-world barriers that prevent people from receiving care, the full potential of biomedical innovation can be unlocked for all those in need” (2/17).

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Businesses Of All Sizes Needed To Achieve SDGs

Huffington Post: Our Global Goals need all businesses
Marga Hoek, board member and founder of Business for Good

“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), often referred to as Global Goals, need business as much as business needs them. … The key to businesses successfully accelerating towards these goals is positive synergy between all kinds and all sizes of business. … The 50 largest economies around the world are, in fact, companies. So imagine, if one of those companies reduces their waste, or creates a positive footprint, it has huge impact. … There are many examples of innovative start-ups that have the potential to make a real difference. For instance, in Uganda, pneumonia kills 27,000 children under the age of five every year. Most of these cases are due to pneumonia being misdiagnosed as malaria. Therefore, Ugandan engineer Brian Turyabagye designed a biomedical ‘smart jacket’ to quickly and accurately diagnose pneumonia. … There are currently 385 million children living in poverty and in developing countries, 20 percent of the children live in poverty stricken conditions. Solutions are being found by midsized companies such as Toilets for People (TfP) who design and manufacture waterless composting toilets and train NGO partners in developing countries how to build, install, and maintain them. … Being large, midsized, or small, [all businesses] bring unique assets to the table and create the necessary scale together. We should realize this in the debate about reaching our goals…” (2/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

PAI's 'Washington Memo' Discusses Burden Of Expanded Mexico City Policy On U.S., Foreign NGOs

PAI’s “Washington Memo”: On the Hook: U.S. NGOs Responsible for Enforcing Trump’s Global Gag Rule
In this newsletter, PAI discusses the reinstatement and expansion of the Mexico City policy, including potential implications for both foreign and U.S. NGOs and the steps NGOs likely will need to take to ensure compliance with the policy (2/17).

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Blog Series To Examine Importance Of Achieving Gender Equality, SDG 5

Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ “Global Food for Thought”: She Succeeds, We Succeed: Empowering Girls and Women to Achieve Global Goals
Louise Iverson, assistant director of the Chicago Council’s Global Food and Agriculture Program, discusses the importance of achieving Sustainable Development Goal 5, “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” She writes, “[T]his aim is more than a stand-alone target in itself: it is in fact at the heart of achieving all of the SDGs, from achieving food security and ending poverty to promoting peaceful and inclusive societies. We cannot reach our collective goals without empowering girls and women. … In this blog series, I’ll explore avenues like improved nutrition and health, financial access and inclusion, access to and quality of education, and other key topics, looking at stories of success and opportunities for progress. Because when she succeeds, we all succeed” (2/21).

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African Leaders Endorse Addis Declaration On Immunization At Summit

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Groundbreaking Declaration on Immunization Signed by African Heads of State
Diane Scott, senior communications officer with the Gates Foundation, writes, “Late last month, African Heads of State gathered at the 28th Summit of the African Union to sign the Addis Declaration on Immunization (ADI) — an historic agreement to secure healthy futures for all Africans by prioritizing universal access to immunization. First endorsed by African Ministers a year ago, ADI binds member nations to a range of commitments that call for increasing domestic investment in immunization, addressing persistent barriers to vaccine and health care access among marginalized communities, and increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of immunization delivery systems…” (2/17).

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Digital Timeline Examines Development Of Global Health Organizations Throughout History

Oxford University Press’s “Academic Insights for the Thinking World”: The history of global health organizations
Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation and a lecturer at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia, and Devi Sridhar, professor at the University of Edinburgh’s Medical School and chair in Global Public Health, write, “Established in April 1948, the World Health Organization remains the leading agency concerned with international public health. As a division of the United Nations, the WHO works closely with governments to work towards combating infectious diseases and ensuring preventative care for all nations. The events included in the timeline below, sourced from Governing Global Health: Who Runs the World and Why?, show the development of global health organizations throughout history…” (2/21).

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